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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  January 22, 2014 10:00am-11:01am PST

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reports," baby it's cold outside. in a one-two punch, millions along the east coast are digging out overnight from a major snowstorm. and they're now being hit with an arctic blast. how long will this last? we'll have the latest forecast. the virginia way. governor bob mcdonnell and his wife have been indicted on federal corruption charges over gifts from a supporter. can the once rising star in the republican party beat this rap? >> i did nothing illegal for mr. williams in exchange for what i believe was his personal friendship and his generosity. syrian peace talks get ugly fast when the u.n. secretary-general became entangled in a heated exchange with assad's foreign minister. >> i have the right to give the syrian version here in this forum. >> yes, of course, sir.
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and olympic threats. u.s. officials say the terror threat level in sochi is higher than for any previous olympics. will russia accept u.s. help to keep athletes and visitors safe? >> reporter: there's been this conversation between president obama and vladimir putin in which security was discussed. the most senior military leaders between the two countries are talking, potentially even discussing sharing equipment. but while all of these conversations are happening here in sochi, security is very tight. important breaking news, reports of a possible shooting on the campus of the university of oklahoma.
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the university of oklahoma police say that -- they are telling us that there are reports of a possible shooting. the university twitter account says that the shooting on campus -- avoid gould hall, seek immediate shelter in place. we'll bring you more information as we have it. good day. i'm andrea mitchell in washington, where along the east coast there's an arctic blast, bringing temperatures expected to last into next week. and yesterday's storm left behind a record snowfall up and down the seaboard. today's schools and businesses in washington, philadelphia, and boston are all closed, while those cities try to dig out. new york city, which got 11 inches or more in some places, left the public schools open. joining me now with a weather round-up is nbc's dylan dreyer in sandwich, massachusetts. and also ron allen in philadelphia. thanks to both of you. dylan, first of all, let's talk about what's going on up there in massachusetts, where you have had absolutely the worst of it.
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terrible cold and winds. >> reporter: cold and wind. that's right, andrea. and right now, this is really one of the very few spots still dealing with this heavy blowing snow. and it's all ocean effect. we awl tatalk a lot about lake snow. we have a very cold north wind crossing over the relatively warmer waters of the atlantic. and we are stuck with this band of ocean effect snow right over us. and you can see just how much it reduces visibility when these winds kick out. we've had winds up near 40 miles per hour at times. it reduces visibility down to around zero. and it also blows and drifts the snow all over the place, which is what we've been dealing with here. we've had these snow drifts, and the snow just kind of floats around. so the road crews are trying to clean things up. but then the snow rides right back over the road. so we are certainly dealing with conditions that are less than favorable. but it's in a small portion of the western cape right now. everywhere else, we are already
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starting to see this storm system pull away. but on the back side of it, now it's about the next arctic blast. temperatures through the day today into tomorrow all the way up until the weekend will only be in the teens. but it's those windchills that will be around zero and well below, especially back towards the midwest, where windchills will be down around 35 degrees below zero. so it's a one-two punch. first the snow and then the cold. but we might get above freezing by this weekend. andrea? >> thanks so much, dylan dreyer. and ron allen in philadelphia. at least in philadelphia, they closed the public schools. a lot of criticism of new york city's new mayor for not closing the schools, and kids had a terrible time on long bus rides home. >> reporter: indeed, andrea. in new york, a lot of kids get to schools on subways, too, and it's a much denser city in some ways. i don't know the logic of why the mayor kept them open and the philadelphia mayor did close the schools. as a matter of fact, in a briefing not long ago, he said that he hoped by the end of the
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day he had most or all of the roadways in this town passable. so an indication that there are some neighborhoods where the plows have not gotten to and where they're having trouble clearing the streets. that's always a problem in urban areas. here in philadelphia, they have gotten more snow than perhaps ever. certainly since 1917, i think the official date. 13 1/2 inches reported at the airport. 14 inches recorded by the city's emergency management community here. 16 inches in some of the outlying suburbs, which is a lot of snow in a short period of time, starting at 4:00 p.m. yesterday afternoon. all the snow hit during, of course, the rush hour. people in their offices, trying to get home. unbelievable trying to get home. i was in new jersey and new york last night. it took four hours trying to get home. normally an hour or little bit more of a trip. just paralyzing snow at a really bad time. here you can see on the steps of the artmuseum, they're trying
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to make the most of it. there's sledders. there's a guy on a bike. i'm not sure that's a good idea. but they're trying to make the most of it. you can see the roads are passable and black, but there's not a lot of traffic out there. it's pretty much a ghost town for the most part. coming over here from 30th street station, there's still some snow on the roads, but not a lot of people going about their business in town. a lot of offices told people to stay home, to work from home on the computer or whatever. the bottom line is that when snow hits an urban area hard, it's really paralyzing and they're really trying to dig out here today. andrea? >> ron allen braving it on the steps of the museum there in philadelphia. thank you very much. today, president obama is launching an important initiative to combat sexual assault, particularly on college campuses. a new report released today by the white house says that one in five women in college have been sexually assaulted. president obama is creating a task force to come back in 90 days with recommendations to try
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to address this problem. joining me now from the white house is valerie jarrett, senior adviser to president obama. you chair this task force on women and girls. tell me why the president decided the try to address this problem. >> well, he has been working on it consistently since he took office. back in 2011, for example, the department of education issued regulations requiring all of our colleges and universities that received federal funding to put in place a plan to combat sexual assault and rape on campuses. and you're right, it is one in five women in their lifetime. but 80% of those will happen before they're the age of 25. and half of them will happen before the age of 18. so the evidence that's in this new report really gives us additional ammunition to go back to the colleges and university presidents, many of whom were here last week and we raised this issue with them then to say what more can we do? it's totally unacceptable that it is a part of the culture that
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this could be okay. the federal government has a role to play. state and local law enforcement has a role to play. health and human services has a role to play to figure out exactly what we can do to make survivors feel comfortable and come forward and go through the criminal justice system. but we also need our colleges and universities to own this issue and to help change that culture. >> how much are drugs and alcohol a part of the problem? >> a big part of the problem. a big part of the problem. but that's no excuse. just because a woman or a guy has had alcohol or has had drugs, that is not granting permission. one of the other important steps that the president took a number of years ago was to change the definition of rape. it used to be far too narrow. it didn't cover men. it didn't cover people who were intoxicated to the degree where they were unconscious. so we've broadened the definition. part of that is educating people that what is acceptable behavior, what kind of a culture
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do we want to have. we think men play a very important role in this. if we can have seniors in college tell the freshmen when they first arrive, that's not the kind of behavior that we put up here. when we have a president of the united states standing with the vice president who has been a huge advocate for this, the vice president, as you know drafted the original violence against women act. to have them stand up before the cab noinet and say this is an ie that we all have a role in combatting, sends a positive message. you know, celebrities, athletes, people who the young people look up to need to say this has to end. one is too many. >> and that number, one in five women over their lifetime say that they have been assaulted. that translates to 22 million people. 22 million americans. women more likely the victims, 98% of the perpetrators are men in your report. but men and boys are also victims, as you have just said. to what extent are we finally getting beyond the culture of
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law enforcement being so discriminatory in the way they approach victims of sexual assault and making them feel guilty? >> that's an excellent question, andrea. just an hour ago, the president had a meeting with the attorney general eric holder, kathleen sebelius, secretary hagel, who is tackling this issue in our military, arnie duncan, the secretary of education, as well as several of us from the white house. we talked butt th eed about tha. we have to figure out how we're going to tackle this together. and so we are convinced that if law enforcement has the appropriate training and health and human services can help give them some of that training, sensitivity, that there is now units within the justice department that are being mirrored at state and local government, where they focus on just a sexual assault unit, so that the people who are in that unit are trained to be sensitive, to not make the woman feel as though she asked for it,
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that they are actually victims who want to become survivors. and if their first interaction with the woman or the man is positive and supportive and constructive and advocating for them and that stays the same throughout the criminal justice process, the likelihood of people coming forward increases greatly. i will say since arnie duncan issued regulations back in 2011 calling on the college campuses to improve and having placed these plans, we've seen a lot more activism on college campuses. people who have been assaulted are coming to the justice department and coming to the department of education and filing charges in their civil rights division because they know that we have a president who is responsive. so that increased activism we believe can be very helpful on college campuses as well because they know that they are finding someone who is going to be responsive to them. so law enforcement has made progress over the years. you're seeing a lot more sensitivity than you saw historically. but we also recognize we have a
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long way to go so. the task force that the president put in place is to come back in 90 days with concrete recommendations for what more we can do, and a part of that is lifting up what works. i mean, there are many colleges and universities that really have taken this on head-on and have worked with local law enforcement and have seen -- they've seen the incidents go down. we need to highlight that so everybody can learn from the successes and we also need to have transparency. so when a young person is applying to a college or university, wouldn't it be helpful to know whether they're going to be in a safe environment? what are the number of incidents of rape and assault on those college campuses. i know as a parent, i would want my child informed about that before going to college and that's what we are committed to doing. so this is a really important day, andrea, and we're just appreciative that you're putting a spotlight on this issue. >> well, we're appreciative to you to coming out before going inside to launch that. thank you so much, valerie jarrett. >> my pleasure. my pleasure to be with you. >> thanks very much again. and coming up next, acrimony
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and tension hanging over the syria peace talks under way in switzerland. just moments ago, secretary kerry issued these strong words about the need for transitional government in syria. >> it cannot be about one man's insistence or one family's insistence about clinging to power. [ female announcer ] starting with the cocoa bean, and five simple whole grains, new multigrain cheerios dark chocolate crunch is breakfast... with benefits. start your day with a delicious new crunch. healthy never tasted so good.
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welcome back. the olympic are set to open in sochi with opening ceremonies just 15 days from now. hotels reason even finished. instead of talking about sports and athletes, the world's attention has been focused on security. with the threat higher than for any previous olympics. nbc's chief foreign correspondent richard engel is in sochi. richard? >> reporter: there is clearly a
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security concern about sochi. it has already reached the highest levels of the u.s. and the russian and american governments. there's been this conversation between president obama and vladimir putin in which security was discussed. the most senior military leaders between the two countries are talking, potentially even discussing sharing equipment. but while all of these conversations are happening here in sochi, security is very tight. we are now inside the bubble. we are inside this ring of steel. and just to get here, it took hours. we had to go through layer after layer of security checks. like would be at a very strict airport. every bag opened, all of the contents searched. we went through metal detectors, bomb dogs. when you walk around, you see foot patrols of policemen. you have to wear large badges identifying who you are, what organization you're with, the entire area surrounded by
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fences. there are all sorts of other means of electronic surveillance. artillery pieces in the hills. this is probably the most secure place in russia. >> thanks to richard engel there in sochi. joining me now here is michael leiter, msnbc counterterrorism analyst and former director of the national counterterrorism center. michael, let's talk about sochi, because the threat level is very high. and even though there is that ring of steel around sochi, all of russia is a potential target. >> i think that's exactly the problem. they've tightened up the security in sochi, and frankly, i think richard is right. sochi probably is the safest place in russia. but that means lots of the other soft targets away from sochi, as we saw in december in volgograd, the mass transit, the official russian offices. those are real targets. and that can still send real tremors into sochi even if the attack is outside the security zone. >> and there are sort of glimmers of a softening of russian resistance to asking for
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help. yesterday, the head of their military there, the joint chiefs chairman met in brussels. and for the first time, the russians asked martin dempsey to share these electronic censors that could potentially detect remote bombs. that's a big deal. they've never asked for that before. and then later this prearranged call between president putin and president obama and they did discuss olympic security. >> it is a good sign. and we all know the history of the u.s. and russian intelligence services is not a good one. and boston, while alone in some ways, led to -- >> the boston marathon bombing. >> yes, boston bombing. that led to an improvement at least between the fbi and the fsb, the equivalent of their fbi. that relationship has been pretty good. and now this discussion between general dempsey and their chairman of the joint chiefs is very significant. that the russian would actually ask for technical u.s. help at this late date shows that they're nervous, but also that
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they may really be open to a greater exchange of technical intelligence, which could at least give us a better feel about what's going on there. >> and if they do get those censors, american military will have to go with them to run them, so that would mean a presence of american military on russian territory. that would be unprecedented. >> that would be unprecedented. and the u.s. presence there is a u.s. presence of state department in sochi now, but it's vastly smaller than what we've seen in previous olympic games, especially in london, vancouver, and the like. >> i want to ask you about the flap that came up over the weekend where you had mike rogers, the head of the house intelligence committee, mike mccall suggesting also from moscow where he was visiting the head of the house homeland security committee. both suggesting that edward snowden may have had help from the russians before getting into russia, even before that, while he was at the nsa. now a strong denial from snowden to jane mayer in "the new
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yorker" today. what is your sense? >> my sense really is that both of the congressmen are leaning a little bit farther forward than others would. that, in fact, snowden had the access, he had the basic tactical skills to do this on his own. and right now, no significant solid indications of actually working with a counterpart. are the russians benefiting from his leaking and his presence in russia now? almost certainly. were they behind it in the first instance? i think that's quite a stretch. >> and we're just getting word that edward snowden will be doing a live chat. i'll tweet out details about this. but a live chat on thursday on his -- at 3:00 p.m. eastern standard time. that would be on his public support website. so he'll be answering questions. >> what i would say, andrea, regardless of whether or not the russians were behind this, what we can't deny is that the russians, the chinese, and other of our adversaries have benefited from the information that has been released.
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the information that has nothing to do with u.s. person privacy and the like. >> thank you so much. an update now on that breaking news that we told you about at the top of the show about a possible shooting at the university of oklahoma. the university has now released a statement saying that as of this time, no evidence has been found of any shots being fired. there were no injuries reported at this time. normal campus operations have now resumed, except for gould hall, where additional security checks are still ongoing. we'll have the latest. stay with us. i've got a big date, but my sinuses are acting up. it's time for advil cold and sinus. [ male announcer ] truth is that won't relieve all your symptoms. hmm? [ male announcer ] new alka seltzer plus-d relieves more symptoms than any other behind the counter liquid gel. thanks for the tip. [ male announcer ] no problem. oh...and hair products. aisle 9. [ inhales deeply ] oh what a relief it is. ♪ open to innovation.
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although the federal investigation of my family has been indescribably agonizing over this past year, i believe that the facts and the law are clearly on our side. >> 43 pages, 14 indictments. but experts, legal experts say it could be a tough case to prove. still, it is the likely end of a once promising political career. former virginia governor bob mcdonnell, a popular republican
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leader whose name made mitt romney's short list for running mate in 2012, is now in a fight to clear his family's fame. the latest twist in the gifts scandal surrounding the governor and his wife maureen. former virginia congressman tom davis joins me now. first of all, we want to declare that your wife served in the cabinet of the governor. but this is a personal tragedy, as well as a legal issue. let's talk about this indictment, though. the indictment does not read well. it may not be violating the law because of the very lax gift policy in virginia. it's not against the law to accept things as long as you don't do something on behalf of someone, is that correct? you're a lawyer. >> you have to disclose, but i can't think over the last 30 years where the disclosure requirements were enforced against anybody. so he's certainly pushed the limits i think with the amount of gifts he took from one person. on the disclosure side, at best that's a misdemeanor under virginia law.
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it's hard in this case -- i think the prosecution's problem is showing the pro quo for the quid. clearly he was showered with gifts by one person. >> let's talk about what we see from maureen mcdonnell, his wife, writing to this donor and supporter, the businessman, that they're in financial trouble. i'm being killed by the inaugural costs, asking him to take her on a shopping trip, buy an oscar de la renta gown in new york for more than $10,000. a total of $20,000. doesn't this strike you as being beyond the normal exchange? >> it's bizarre. i don't think the governor had any idea this was going on, or i think he would have shut that piece off. >> he was wearing a rolex watch. >> which she gave him at the time. but requesting things are different than somebody giving it to you.
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but there's no question they pushed the outward limits of what the current law is and not disclosing everything by saying their gifts to the family and the like -- it's going to be a legal test i think for the prosecutors. but it's a sad chapter. >> and we've got terry mccauliffe, he signed an executive order saying that any gift over $100 needs to be -- cannot be accepted and that it needs to be disclosed as well, all gifts need to be disclosed. is this going to have an impact? is the culture going to be different? >> i think the general assembly will change the tulture and tighten up the gift laws altogether. it's not hard to say no to anything over $100. he's worth millions of dollars. bob mcdonnell was in debt. if you want to make money, you leave office. you don't do it while you're there. but the question is, did he give anything in return for all of these gifts?
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>> and what about ed gillaspie, now running for the nomination to be the republican challenger to mark warner. nationally known. can raise a ton of money. former republican national chairman. also former close adviser to george w. bush. will he be affected at all by this? >> the one thing you have to remember about governor o'conneo mcconnell, he was a good governor. polls show he would have been re-elected. he passed a massive transportation bill. he dealt with budget troubles. so i don't think people attach to -- it will attach to them in the political side. it did a little bit to the attorney general because he had taken gifts from the same person. but i don't think the culture goes really outside of the family at this point in terms of the indictment and the people around them and affecting their futures. >> and we should say, as you know very well, as i know from living so close by, this is not the way business is done in virginia. >> no.
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>> we're not talking about louisiana here. we're not talking about places like illinois where governors habitually end up in the federal penitentiary. this is a very different case. >> but the lax laws, this is really going to test those kind of limits. it's a tough case for the prosecution to prove, but as you can read the indictment, they've thrown the kitchen sink at them at this point. so it will be an interesting case. but there's nothing wrong under virginia law with taking those gifts. it's just the need to disclose and was there a quid pro quo. >> former congressman tom davis, thank you very much. and what a view. two million people visit rio's christ the redeemer statue. but these repair workers are getting a rare perspective indeed, from atop one of the world's incredible manmade landmarks. they are making repairs on the famous monument after a lightning strike damaged the head and right hand of the statue in a storm just last week. the statue was actually struck by lightning between three and five times a year.
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geico. fifteen minutes could save you... well, you know. chris christie and bob mcdonnell, republican success stories when they were first elected in 2009. each considered vice presidential material in 2012. now both are mired down by investigations leaving moderate republicans wondering just whom to turn to in 2016. joining me now for our "daily fix," the managing editor of post politics.com. mark halperin. and eugene robinson, msnbc political analyst and editorial columnist at the "washington post." first you, chris, you've been watching politics in virginia for a very long time. this does go beyond the pail, even though the laws are lax, what we've seen is surprising,
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correct? >> it's surprising to someone like me who has been following the story pretty closely. the reporter has really been driving a lot of the story. i was surprised at the extend, i guess, the extent to which the relationship between the mcdonnells and johnny williams, the donor went. it seems to me this is a case when you see it with politicians and congressman davis touched on it and i thought said it the right way, which is politicians spend a lot of time around very wealthy people. sometimes, in bob mcdonnell's face, they the politicians themselves are not wealthy. but there's a line between a relationship with a donor and crossing that line where you feel as though this relationship, the lifestyle that this person is helping you maintain, that that's right. and it seems clear that bob mcdonnell and his wife were way on the wrong side of that line. and i think by the time bob mcdonnell sort of realized it or it became public, it was far too late to save his political career. >> eugene, there's an excerpt
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here that i want to show of maureen mcdonnell's e-mail to a senior mcdonnell staff member. "i need answers and bob is screaming about the thousands i'm charging up in credit card debt. we are broke. have an unconscionable amount in credit card debt already and this inaugural is killing us." >> it sounds as if the family really was in fairly dire financial straits. they made real estate investments at the height of the market, and so everything was under water, they were having trouble making their mortgage payments. that's a terrible fix for an elected official to be in. and i guess they felt they were expected to spend money, just by virtue of the position of governor. however, did it have to be louis vuitton? did it have to be a rolex? there's always a grasping nature to these allegations that goes
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beyond i think simple financial trouble. >> and the shopping trips. mark halperin, up there in new york. oscar de la renta, louis vuitton. this was no low-rent operation. >> they've got nice stuff here in new york. >> and i know you're an expert on all of these designer labels. >> people should recognize that virginia is the only state where you can only run for one term as governor. mcdonnell was a rising star in the party. came in, and in this one term, i think his family saw, as eugene suggested, the limits of their finances and the circles they were operating in. they clearly wanted a lifestyle above what they could afford. i'm always cautious when indictments get handed out, because this is what the prosecutors think. this is their best case. mcdonnell has denied it. we've not heard the other side. i think the core point that his lawyers are make about favors in return, it's clear the gifts are
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gaudy and people talk about them understandably so. there's the human side of that. but mcdonnell's lawyers are focusing on what did they get in return? as he points out, there's no smoking gun about legislation or government favors. there was access and visibility for the donor's company. but as they point out, you can find lots of examples that i would say are at least comparable of people in public life with mutually beneficial financial relationships with a donor who then do things for the donor that go well beyond what mcdonnell did for this donor. i think he's got a potential case on that side. clearly they've got to be concerned that any jury and certainly the press is going to be focused for a long time on all the things they got and the grasping nature of the things they solicited. >> exactly right. i agree with that take. so does pete williams and every lawyer i've spoken to about the nature of the virginia law and the challenge it is for the
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federal prosecutors. now, let's talk about the other part of this, which is chris christie. the latest has a virginia link. this is ken cuccinelli weighing in on chris christie and whether or not he should step down temporarily from the republican governor's association. >> it make sense for him to step aside in that role. he does not serve the goals of that organization by staying as chairman. >> that doesn't mean any of the charges, political or otherwise, are substantive or not. it doesn't matter. perception is reality. >> why wouldn't he step down? why do you think he's not stepping down? >> well, frankly, i think this is all still relatively new. and he may well step down. i have no idea what his thinking is on that. he may get some counsel from some other governors along those lines. >> mark halperin, what's your read on what cuccinelli said? >> well, look, he's no longer in office. he lost his race. he's not a huge figure in the paer party. but all four of us talk to
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republicans frequently who say they are worried about chris christie, they're worried about other shoes dropping, if not directly tied to him, to senior members of his staff. i think this is a bit of a canary in the coal mine, there's no doubt the investigation will grow, is to say why are you running the rga? if you're distracted by the investigation, if you've got to govern the state of new jersey, if you're thinking maybe of running for president, maybe that's the thing that has to go and i think you may see that as he travels from around the country. i'm not saying he should give it up or he will, but i do think that will be the first pressure point as the investigation envelopes as administration more than it already has. >> eugene? >> i also want to point out cuccinelli and christie are from different wings of the republican party. christie is more of a moderate. he seemed on the assent before all this happened. this could be used as an opportunity by the republican right to cut him down a notch. or more than a notch, actually. to take him out of the running.
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>> the one thing to watch here, money. the most important job the rga chairman does is raise money. it's why chris christie was -- and many people before this happened, was applauded as the choice. his strength is his relationship with wall street and with major donors in new york city and the new jersey area. if that fades, if the rga is under performing, if christie isn't the draw that he once was, if he's distracted simply logistically, if he can't travel and raise as much money, that's when i think you start getting to real talk about him not doing it. ken cuccinelli saying something one way or the other doesn't really matter all that much. >> chris, mark, and eugene. thank all three of you very much. more sad news from overseas. an american sole skrdier was shd killed monday in kandahar province. edward balli was was born and
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raised in salinas, california. he was on his third tour of duty in afghanistan. he is survived by his wife christie and three adopted children from a previous marriage. has got it goin' on ♪ ♪ stacy's mom has got it goin' on ♪ ♪ stacy's mom has got it goin' on ♪ [ male announcer ] the beautifully practical and practically beautiful cadillac srx. lease this 2014 cadillac srx for around $319 a month with premium care maintenance included. ♪ her long day of pick ups and drop offs begins with arthritis pain... and a choice. take up to 6 tylenol in a day or just 2 aleve for all day relief. all aboard. ♪
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that will help you explain this to your...father. [ vehicle approaches ] [ dennis ] introducing quickfoto claim. just another way allstate is changing car insurance for good. this has not been an easy road to bring people together. the hurdles have been enormous. government resistance, opposition resistance, different factions, different groups. a real tug of war, so to speak, within the war. no one should doubt -- no one's trying to gloss this over -- that this is the beginning of a tough and complicated process. >> tough and complicated indeed. secretary kerry within the hour in switzerland. the stakes are as high as world leaders have gathered there today for the very first syria peace talks in the three-year civil war. it has been a rough start, with heated exchanges and a lot of name calling.
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for more on all this, i'm joined by eamon in new york today. there was a very heated exchange between the assad regime's foreign minister and moon of the u.n. unusual. let's play a little bit of it right now. a little more of it. we showed you at the top of the show. >> i came here -- >> i know you have -- >> i need to speak. >> you live in new york, i live in syria. i have the right to give the syrian version here in this forum. >> yes, of course. >> this is my right. >> we have to have some constructive and harmonious -- please refrain from any infla
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inflammatory remarks which will not be constructive at this time. >> it is constructive. i promise you to be constructive. let me finish my speech. >> well, that's just the start of the talks. so it isn't very promising, eam eamon. >> not at all. the tension that you could sense in the room between not only u.n. officials, but the syrian opposition in the syrian government was much more palpable from some of the syrian opposition that i've been speaking to. in fact, you really are starting this off on a very difficult footing, because the sides are participating in these talks under very different assumptions. the syrian government is there thinking it is there to discuss the issue of terrorism, to try to assign blame to some of the regional countries that are sewing this violence that is taking place. some of the regional countries, saudi arabia and others that are supporting the opposition. the syrian opposition is there under the assumption that this is a framework to transition president bashar al assad out of power. so you have this talk that is beginning with a wide gap
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between all the parties that are involved, including the u.s. and russia. >> and this conference, which has been delayed for more than six months, this is the main act. the u.s. has failed, according to critics, in its attempts to arm the opposition. has let the really al qaeda linked most radical elements take dominance now in the opposition fighting forces. and assad is on the aseiine -- >> it has led to this radical opposition. the opposition is fragmented. there's a disconnect between the syrian opposition in exile and those on the ground that are fighting. and as a result, when this uprising began, when this protest against president bashar al assad began, it started as largely peaceful protests. this was one of the questions posed by the syrian opposition. how long do you expect the syrian people to wait and not
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defend themselves? and there's no indication that this is going to be resolved any time soon. these talks now are supposed to continue on friday in the city of geneva, in which they're starting to try to -- or they're going to try to get to some of the nitty-gritty parts of trying to stop the violence on the ground. and there's no indication that is going to happen. but you're absolutely right, president bashar al assad has been emboldened by his government's position. and as we've been reporting, the diplomatic cover that he's been given by both russia, china, and the financial and tactical support by regional allies, including iran and hezbollah. a lot of countries invested in syria right now feel that this is not going to bode very well, it's not going to bring about the desired resolution to the conflict. >> thank you so much. one quick point here is that kerry made the point that there are so many weapons being used by the regime, including food, withholding food, that that is actually a war crime. so that was one of his warnings at the table today. thank you, good to see you.
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and secretary of state kerry now heads to davos, switzerland, for the world economic forum. look who was already there. iranian and israeli leaders whose official planes are parked side by side. could parked side by side. is this a sign of the fall to come? [ female announcer ] think all pads are the same? don't. [ woman ] the technology in these pads... best creation ever! [ female announcer ] always infinity. the only pad made with flexfoam, not fluff. so thin, yet it absorbs 10 times its weight. infinity. clean. dry. fresh. always.
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somplts which political story will make headlines in the next 24 hours? chris is with us, we are about to hear, at least after the pro bowl draft on sunday, the nfl is going to make available the audio from our friend, richard sherman, michael crabtree and others in the climactic moments of the game. >> i mean, this is always -- here's the thing, andrea, my dream always is, as you know, it's a weird dream, but to have politicians in these secret meetings that they have miked up so we can figure out what actually happened.
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but the nfl, in its tremendous wisdom, has done this because i will guarantee you, i will watch a miked up richard sherman, miked up michael crabtree, so get some sort of who is telling the truth, who is right and who acted wrong in all this. i mean, this is a sports fan and i put myself in that category. this is a dream! you get primary source material. >> and this is going to be tonight. we'll hear on the nfl the actual audio because they all were wearing mikes, apparently. but you don't need the audio to know what richard sherman was saying when he goes like this and points to the sideline. >> fair point. >> however, sportsmanship was apparent silently. >> context does matter, so maybe -- because richard sherman's side of the story was that michael crabtree was taunting him the whole game, so maybe we'll get a fuller picture. but i can just tell you, the fact -- we just need to get a few politicians agree to be
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miked up during a high-profile backstage conversation before a debate. this is gold. nothing but upside for us. >> i'm with you on that. thank you for much. that's this edition of "andrea mitchell reports." follow online and on twitter. my colleague tamron hall is here with what's coming up. >> i want to hear the whole tape to put it in context there. we'll see what happens there. meanwhile, developing news from the white house where at any moment president obama will announce the creation of a new task force challenging universities to do more to respond to sexual assault. this comes after a disturbing new report from the white house regarding sexual assault on campus. we'll bring you the president's remarks live. plus, new information on the possible help the u.s. will give russia to boost security during the winter games in sochi. the latest on the terror threat and the search for the so-called black widows. and the bitter cold after the storm.
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what?! man on p.a.: comparing rates since back in the day. we are following developing news right now on "news nation." these are live pictures from the east room of the white house where president obama is about to announce the creation of a new task force challenging universities to do more to respond to sexual assault. it comes on the heels of a new white house report that finds that one in five women have been sexually assaulted at college. the president will be joined by the vice president and several members of his cabinet. hi, everyone, i'm tamron hall. we'll bring the president's remarks to you live when he begins, but first, the "news nation" is following new information on the u.s. involvement in securing the olympic games in sochi. senior military officials tell nbc news the u.s. is considering
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sharing with russia sophisticated electronic equipment capable of detecting remote-controlled bombs. meanwhile, the white house says president obama and russian president vladimir putin talked about olympic security during a phone conversation yesterday. also today, the international olympic committee is dismissing it has a host of e-mails making terror threats reportedly received by a number of olympic allegations. all this as russian officials look for at least five terror suspects, including three so-called black widow suicide bombers. nbc news chief foreign correspondent richard engel has the latest from sochi. >> reporter: first off, tamron, about these letters, we learned that the germans and hungarians, have received threatening e-mails in english, and were somewhat vague telling people to avoid sochi. that the athletes shouldn't come he

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